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The Otaku Encyclopedia: An Insider's Guide to the Subculture of Cool Japan Paperback – October 1, 2009


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What's an Otaku, Anyway?
Learn more about what it means to be "an admitted Otaku" in this Q&A with author Patrick Galbraith.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 248 pages
  • Publisher: Kodansha USA (October 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 4770031017
  • ISBN-13: 978-4770031013
  • Product Dimensions: 2 x 2.9 x 0.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #687,966 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"You can't possibly be called an otaku without this book." --Danny Choo, www.dannychoo.com"Galbraiths knowledge of Akihabaras history and current manifestations makes the neighborhoods warrens of obscurity feel vivid and layered, like a promising archeological dig." --Roland Kelts, author of Japanamerica"Prepare for a wild, educational, and entertaining ride!" -- from the foreword by Frederik L. Schodt, author of Manga! Manga!"The author is clearly knowledgeable and the entries are rarely short blurbs, but are richly detailed and informative." --The Gaming DungeonThis inexpensive, attractive and useful reference should have wide appeal for both otaku patrons and librarians working with manga and anime. --Library Journal"The Otaku Encyclopedia is obviously a treasure trove and necessary for anyone who is interested in anime and manga, but it also has much to offer anyone interested in Japanese history, society or linguistics." --Shelf Awareness

About the Author


PATRICK W. GALBRAITH is a journalist based in Tokyo. He specializes in Japanese popular culture, and writes a regular column for Metropolis magazine. He gives weekly tours of Akihabara, the otaku capital of Japan, and is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Tokyo.

More About the Author

Patrick W. Galbraith earned a PhD in Information Studies from the University of Tokyo, and is currently pursuing a second PhD in Cultural Anthropology at Duke University. He is the author of "The Otaku Encyclopedia," "Tokyo Realtime: Akihabara" and "Otaku Spaces," and co-editor of "Idols and Celebrity in Japanese Media Culture." His articles have been published in Otaku USA, Metropolis, The Japan Times, Mechademia, the Electronic Journal of Contemporary Japanese Studies and Signs.

Customer Reviews

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From the minute he unwrapped this book, my son was impressed.
Aspie Mom
Those who want to collect cool books like this I would not Recommend this to: -Those who want to read a book about Otaku culture.
ApologeticThomas
The book is very useful to the otaku who are interested in learning words, terms, companies, areas and more.
Dennis A. Amith (kndy)

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Back in the '90s, a lot of us would learn Japanese slang from Todd & Erika Geers "Making Out in Japanese" or purchasing Kodansha's awesome Romanized Japanese-English Dictionary.

For those of us into Japanese culture, we had issues of "Mangajin" to help us learn Japanese and translating manga, anime and even Japanese music was a common thing for us into Japanese pop culture.

Fast forward to 2011 and times have changed a lot. Manga and anime are easily available through legit and non-legit means, you can find Japanese translated lyrics quite easily and with the Internet, people are even more closely connected to Japan. To the point where Akihabara and forums like 2Chan are easily integrating slang to not just otaku's regular day lexicon but also many fans abroad.

Talk to fans today, may it be going to a convention and them saying I want to "glomp" that cosplayer or interviewing the Queen of Akihabara Haruko Momoi and she keeps dropping words like "moe" during the interview to a guy asking me if I like "tsundere" characters and I do remember a time when me and my staff member were asked to be in a picture and she jokingly said, do a "yaoi" pose. Uh, excuse me?

There are just a lot of slang that people are using, especially for those engaged in otaku culture and you can go to a site like Danny Choo's "Culture Japan" and he will be using a lot of wording that many fans will just understand with glee but for those of us who had to study formal Japanese, we are left scratching our head and wondering, "what the hell is everyone talking about?".

Granted, in Japan, there is a lot of slang...
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Jake Adelstein on March 5, 2010
Format: Paperback
The first time I ever heard the word Otaku, or paid attention to it, was around 1999 or 2000, when there a were a series of muggings in the Akihabara area and the victims were all "otaku". The young punks picking on them called it "Otaku-gari" or Hunting Otaku. Apparently, teenagers and younger, would come to the area loaded with cash to buy dolls, games, and comic books and since they tended to be a little wimpy--they were easy pickings. Words like "moe" (affection for fantasy characters and 2-D objects etc) were things I never understood very well. This book does a fantastic job of explaining the mind of the Otaku, the various influential anime (Japanese animation) films and there are a number of stand alone pieces on Japanese authors and creators that are outstanding. I also enjoyed Patrick's personal stories and his explanation of his own experiences with the subculture. More than a reference book, it's a joy to read and eye-opening.
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21 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Mr. T. P. on August 27, 2009
Format: Paperback
Although I found this book interesting and useful, for both relative noobs and studied foreign otaku, it had a number of flaws which prevent it from being truly perfect.

My biggest annoyance was the occasionally completely unneeded value judgements, referring to things as "creepy," "pathetic," or "disturbing." Galbraith calls himself an otaku, so I don't see why he feels the need to put down other parts of otaku culture. This only occurs occasionally, but to hardcore otaku, it might leave a bad taste in their mouth.

It also has a number of small oddities, like:
- Even though he slavishly sticks to Japanese titles and pronunciations, like "idoru," in the back of the book he uses a few English title translations that were never used in the official English release. For example, in North America, "Bokusatsu Tenshi Dokuro-Chan" was officially released as "Bludgeoning Angel Dokuro-chan," but he calls it "Club to Death Angel, Dokoro-chan." And he uses "Red-Eyed Shana," though the official North American release was titled "Shakugan no Shana." Why?
- Having an entry on "Web Anime," then an entry on "Web Manga-Comics" right under it, with both basically being copy-pastes of each other.
- Not mentioning the otaku backlash against Murakami Takashi
- Occasional typos, "feel" as "eel," etc.

Despite these nitpicks, it's a generally good book. Some of the best parts are the interviews, which can get extremely insightful, especially the ones with director Yamakan and Toshio "Otaking" Tadashi. If you want to submerge yourself into some really niche and obscure parts of otaku culture/history, from imouto cafes to Aum Shinrikyo to riajyuu, this is the book. The printing is nice...it's printed in Japan by Kodansha, in Japanese style, with dust cover and all.

Also, the cover amuses me by being so bombastically moe.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Aspie Mom on February 5, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
From the minute he unwrapped this book, my son was impressed. Lots of information. Some of the illustrations are a little risque (of course, he didn't mind) I would rate it a PG-13.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Cpoco on May 16, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you are looking for some extensive review on recent decades Japanese anime history and culture. This is the right book! The book is small and arranged like a dictionary. Explanations are in daily language easy to understand however still convey considerable professionalism. Also, a lot of interesting details and anecdotes are included showing the authors' exhaustive knowledge in this area.
This is a overall great book and definitely worth its price.
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